Los Angeles: Leaked email messages reveal that AEG executives prepared for Michael Jackson's comeback tour in 2009 despite knowing that the singer was suffering from poor health, paranoia and anxiety.
The AEG publicly claimed that Jackson was healthy but they had their doubts about the singer and were seeking insurance to cover any potential losses if the shows fell through, according to the emails released by the Los Angeles Times.
Jackson died of an overdose of anesthetic medicine propofol on June 25, 2009 just weeks before the 50-date 'This Is It' concerts. The 250 pages of leaked email messages reveal the extend of Jackson's poor health and how he was brought in to consent for the 50-date shows.
MJ died of an overdose of anesthetic medicine propofol on June 25, 2009 just weeks before the 50-date \'This Is It\' concerts.
Before meeting Jackson, AEG Live executive Paul Gongaware, who knew Jackson, advised colleagues to wear casual clothing because "MJ is distrustful of people in suits." Jackson signed the deal in January 2009, promising a "first-class performance." If he reneged, AEG would take control of Jackson's company and recoup its money off the income from his music catalogs.
"We are holding all the risk," Gongaware wrote to music promoter Randy Phillips. "We let Mikey know just what this will cost him in terms of him making money.... We cannot be forced into stopping this, which MJ will try to do because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants."
AEG planned a March news conference to announce the comeback shows but Jackson disappeared as the date approached. The singer was drunk and did not want to leave his hotel room for the conference, which ended up being his final public appearance, reveal the emails written by Phillips to AEG president Tim Leiweke.
Phillips and Jackson's manager were forced to dress the singer, who arrived 90 minutes late to the event. "He is scared to death," Phillips wrote to Leiweke. "MJ is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time," he added.
An AEG attorney countered that Phillips was exaggerating and that Jackson was suffering from a case of 'nerves'. After a week of missed rehearsals, Jackson showed up June 19 too weak to take part. Wrote one production manager: "He was a basket case. Doubt is pervasive." "We have a real problem here," Phillips wrote to Leiweke.
Kenny Ortega, the director of the show who had known Jackson for 20 years, told Phillips that the singer needed professional help. "There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior. I think the very best thing we can do is get a top Psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP," he wrote.
AEG is facing two lawsuits-- one from the shows' insurers 'Lloyd's of London, who claim that AEG gave false claims about singer's health while seeking a USD 17.5 million policy and another from Jackson's heirs of wrongful-death. They claim that AEG pressured Jackson into the tour despite knowning he was not well. Lawyers for AEG say that the messages were incomplete and were leaked with the intention of portraying the company in a negative light.